Durham/British Columbia universities - It's science. No, it's magic

July 31, 2008

Psychologists could gain a far greater insight into how humans think and act by analysing tricks and techniques used by magicians, according to research from Durham University and the University of British Columbia. Their study, published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Science, says magic tricks developed over thousands of years offer powerful tools to manipulate perception. Investigating these could have potential applications for research into, for example, human-computer interfaces. Durham psychologist Gustav Kuhn, the report's co-author and a practising magician, said: "Magicians are in some ways miles ahead of scientists. For example, imagine a ball tossed into the air that suddenly disappears, or someone successfully predicting what you will do next. These tricks may seem like they defy the laws of physics and logic but they are actually created through a combination of skill and a deep knowledge of human psychology."

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